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Old 08-17-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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This fall I will be applying to graduate school. I'm now trying to shrink the long list of possibilities to a short list, and am trying to learn about everyday living in the areas where the schools I'm considering are located. One school on my list of possibilities is UMaine (Orono). There are two factors in particular which affect the issue of whether everyday life as a student in a given place would work for me. The first is that I'm older than even the typical grad student, so I'm really interested in knowing whether there is decent, affordable rental property in areas where there are not a lot of students, noisy parties, and the like.

The second important consideration is that my student budget probably will not allow me to own a car, so I need to know whether it's possible to find the right kind of place to live (see above about QUIET), along with the variety of businesses needed for food, personal hygiene, and some basic entertainment, within walking distance of the campus.

I'm sure many students attend the university without cars and manage just fine, but I'm not sure how many have the requirement of a quiet part of town, where one can afford to live without sharing a rented house with a bunch of other students, which I realize may be farther from campus than the sections where a lot of students live. Think of how many people on city-data say they are seeking "walkable" towns. What I need to know is whether there is a walkable area within Orono which would include the campus itself, as well as the sort of housing I would want, along with the collection of businesses needed for me to stay fed, scrubbed, and entertained in a basic kind of way.

By the way, I'm pretty active physically, so for me, "walkable" can be more than a couple of blocks. (I go hiking in the Whites, and have climbed Katahdin 13 times, so the physical exertion of a long walk around town is not an issue.) On the other hand, I don't want to have to walk such long distances everywhere I go that the time would add up and really cut into my day.

I'd appreciate hearing about anything people familiar with the area think it would be useful to know, but am especially interested in thoughts on the primary issue of having all the basic requirements within walking distance. Thanks.
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:15 AM
 
Location: Maine
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U.M.O. and Orono are "walkable", though there are times you could be walking in snow or slush. A bike in good weather is a plus, there is also bus service to Bangor. Check this link Walk Score - Helping homebuyers, renters, and real estate agents find houses and apartments in great neighborhoods. should give you an idea what's available.
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:41 AM
 
Location: NC
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Walkable yes but there is a bus service. The only problem would be winter. I dont know how dedicated the bus would be. The major grocery stores are not really near campus. Nor are they really close to rental type properties.
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:15 AM
 
Location: Maine
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On the back side of campus there are nice apartments and houses. It's Route 2, called Park Street I think. There's a bank, Thriftway grocery and laundromat nearby. I'm not sure that it's on the City Bus route but it's very close. If you don't mind renting a room with kitchen priviledges or an apartment on Main St (also Rt 2) there are several options. Many of the rooms and apts are rented to teachers and profs.

On the opposite side of campus, Stillwater and Forest Avenues and nearby there is a laundromat, Bells IGA grocery and City Bus service.
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Teton Valley Idaho
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I think Orono is workable for you. I will say, when I was there, almost 20 years ago, there was a graduate dorm on campus that was well know for being quiet. One of my high school teachers went back after I got my degree and he stayed in that dorm--actually met his wife there --and they were both "older". If you are choosing to live off campus, I don't think you'll have any problem walking to school. As Maine Writer said, things are pretty close, and the city bus does run if you have yucky weather or full hands! I think you'll enjoy Orono, both the town and the University. Best wishes !
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Penobscot Bay, the best place in Maine!
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Molly- I think you are referring to Estabrook Hall- I lived there one year and LOVED it. I had a 2-rm suite to myself...heaven! As to renting in town, I would say that most of the rental units are going to be within walking distance, either in-town Orono or the Stillwater strip.. Talmar Wood, Park Place, and Washburn apts are all relatively quiet and almost bordering on University grounds. The apts out on College Ave. are a bit louder/rough, or they were when I was there a few years back.
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Teton Valley Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deerislesmile View Post
Molly- I think you are referring to Estabrook Hall- I lived there one year and LOVED it. I had a 2-rm suite to myself...heaven! As to renting in town, I would say that most of the rental units are going to be within walking distance, either in-town Orono or the Stillwater strip.. Talmar Wood, Park Place, and Washburn apts are all relatively quiet and almost bordering on University grounds. The apts out on College Ave. are a bit louder/rough, or they were when I was there a few years back.
YES! It was driving me crazy that I couldn't think of it--was thinking I would have to look it up! Thanks DeerIsle--and I was getting ready to PM you because I missed you!

I had friends at Talmar, and at Park Place---I'd forgotten those, and you're right, they're places to look into too!
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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At the Farmer's Market in Orono [at the steam plant parking lot of the university], I see customers who are university students that get around via bicycle. They appear to be able to get around fine. Though we also have a few customers to commute via canoe.

I have been told that there is also a network of bicycle paths that connect Old Town with the Orono campus via a series of housing tracts. Some Old Town high school students ride their bicycles to the university cafeterias, for after school jobs. They are able to commute through the winters on their bicycles.
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Old 08-19-2007, 05:48 PM
 
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Thanks for all the info! This sounds very workable.

Mollysmiles, thanks for the info on the graduate dorm. I have been considering that option as a possibility, should I end up at UMaine, and it's good to get some inside word that it really is quiet. When I started back to school as an undergrad, I lived in a similar kind of dorm at UMass, which was open to older undergrads as well as graduate students. That place wasn't always as quiet as advertised. Since the dorm was open year-round, the housing office used it as the dumping ground for anyone who needed housing between semesters, including quite a few summer school students and foreign students who were younger than the age you were officially supposed to be to live in that dorm. But, hey, that was UMass, a very poorly run school that treats its students like dirt. (And anyone who thinks I'm expressing an opinion I can't back up might want to take a look at the Princeton Review website, and see how UMass ranks among the country's top worst colleges for bureuacracy and red tape.)

Speaking of the subject of how colleges treat their students, how is UMaine in that regard? I certainly know that large state universities aren't as intimate as small colleges, but is the school basically well administered?

Thanks again for the info everyone has provided on living in Orono. Take care.
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Old 08-19-2007, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Teton Valley Idaho
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geez....I can't help you much there....I was a freshman in Fall '84, so it's been a while....the only thing I can tell you is that when I was there, they NEVER canceled classes. Now if there's a storm heading in, or one is worse than expected, they will. That seems like a good sign!
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